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Abstract

The 1993 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:93) was used to develop a model of dental student within-year persistence that examines the influence of three price and price subsidies (financial aid, tuition, and debt) variations on the probability of within-year persistence of dental students. Results indicate that the amount of financial aid received by dental students may be meeting their immediate financial needs as tuition is charged from one semester to the next. However, debt, a measure of longer-term and accumulative financial burden incurred beginning with undergraduate preparation, may have an intervening influence on the probability of within-year persistence. When considering both debt and tuition costs, the effect of financial aid is reduced considerably. While tuition increases do not appear to have a negative impact on current year persistence decisions, the significant negative coefficient for debt (p < . OS) may indicate that there is a limit to the cumulative debt that a student is willing to assume. By assuming increasingly more debt, dental students are putting themselves at significant risk for dropping or stopping out.

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